Defense rules early in a look at the first two rounds

» Kirwan's first mock: Newton, Gabbert off board early

 

A lockout is in place, the players' union has decertified, and the only football-related activity at this time is preparation for the draft.

Wyche mock draft
While Pat Kirwan has Patrick Peterson going as the top overall selection in his latest mock draft, Steve Wyche sees a much different story unfolding for the LSU defensive back. More ...

In the past two weeks, since I released my first mock draft, there have been a number of big pro days that have taken place, as well as more injury updates, which together have caused players to rise and fall on teams' draft boards. This mock draft looks at the first two rounds, with an eye on team needs as well as where player grades are at this point in the process.

New England has four picks in the top 60, Denver three in the top 46, and San Diego three in the top 61. Meanwhile, Oakland's first pick doesn't come until the middle of the second round, No. 48 overall. Carolina, the New York Jets and Miami all are without a pick in the second round and could be motivated to trade into the second round by moving down on Day 1, but that's a story for another time.

First round

  1. Pick No.
    1
    CAR
    PATRICK PETERSON
    DB
    LSU
     
    The Panthers really need to move down without another pick until No. 65. Peterson is a very talented defender with Pro Bowl potential and a safe pick, but unless the Panthers get a strong commitment to a quarterback ( Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert), can they afford to take a DB? In my first mock draft the pick here was Da'Quan Bowers, but medical issues have entered the equation.
  2. Pick No.
    2
    DEN
    MARCELL DAREUS
    DT
    Alabama
     
    John Fox must fix his inherited defense, plus he's converting from a 3-4 to a 4-3. At 6-foot-3 and 319 pounds, with a 4.95-second 40 at the combine, Dareus is emerging as another safe pick at the top of the draft. Nick Fairley was the pick here in my first mock, but he has a few issues, pushing him slightly down the board.
  3. Pick No.
    3
    BUF
    DA'QUAN BOWERS
    DE
    Clemson
     
    Bowers was unavailable at this pick in my first mock, but issues about his knee will cause some concern until he works out for teams. Bowers had 15.5 sacks last year and Buffalo might feel Ryan Fitzpatrick is more than a one-year answer at quarterback.
  4. Pick No.
    4
    CIN
    CAM NEWTON
    QB
    Auburn
     
    The Bengals can say what they want publicly, but there is a very good chance Carson Palmer could have thrown his last pass as a Bengal. Newton didn't impress at the combine but was better at his pro day. His private workout will be a big factor in the final decision. Gabbert has yet to work out, but when he does things could change at this spot.
  5. Pick No.
    5
    ARI
    BLAINE GABBERT
    QB
    Missouri
     
    The Cardinals need a quarterback even though they drafted one last year ( John Skelton) and picked up another one as an undrafted free agent (Max Hall). Von Miller was the pick in my first mock but he just became a plaintiff in the labor dispute and that could be a factor with his selection.
  6. Pick No.
    6
    CLE
    A.J. GREEN
    WR
    Georgia
     
    Green, who was the pick here in my first mock, is the best playmaking receiver in the draft, and Colt McCoy needs weapons. The Browns might be tempted by Miller if he slides down, but they are returning to a 4-3 scheme and Miller is a better fit in a 3-4.
  7. Pick No.
    7
    SF
    VON MILLER
    CB
    Texas A&M
     
    Miller had 88 plays behind the line of scrimmage in his college career. He ran an impressive 4.47 40 at the combine and a spectacular 4.08 short shuttle at 246 pounds. He would fit very well in Vic Fangio's 3-4 hybrid defense.
  8. Pick No.
    8
    TEN
    NICK FAIRLEY
    DT
    Auburn
     
    The rumors about Fairley's body lacking definition and possibly being a one-year wonder might cause him to drop slightly in the draft but not much farther than here. He is an outstanding 3-technique defensive tackle with quickness and production in his senior season. Dareus was here in my first mock, but he's moving up draft boards.
  9. Pick No.
    9
    DAL
    PRINCE AMUKAMARA
    CB
    Nebraska
     
    Dallas could take an offensive tackle or a defensive end at this spot, and there will be players with top-10 grades when the Cowboys select. Amukamara ran under 4.4 on some watches in Indy and Rob Ryan needs what his brother has in New York -- two cover corners. In my first mock, DE Cameron Jordan landed here.
  10. Pick No.
    10
    WAS
    J.J. WATT
    DE
    Wisconsin
    Watt is moving up draft boards since the combine. He could be the best fit for a 3-4 defensive end in this draft, and the Redskins need help on defense. The problem is they also need a quarterback, receiver, and help at many other positions. In my first mock it was WR Julio Jones here, but until teams are sure about his foot he could drop slightly.
  11. Pick No.
    11
    HOU
    CAMERON JORDAN
    DE
    Cal
     
    Jordan is stout enough to be a two-gap player and quick enough to penetrate. If the top two corners are off the board then the Texans could take the defensive end and circle back later for a corner. I watched a number of Jordan's games this week and he is active for a guy that measured 6-foot-4, weighed 287 pounds, and ran a 4.73 40. In my first mock it was Amukamara at this spot, but he's off the board this time.
  12. Pick No.
    12
    MIN
    TYRON SMITH
    OT
    USC
     
    Smith jumped to the head of the class for some teams when he weighed in at more than 300 pounds and had 29 reps on the bench press to go along with his game tapes. The Vikings need a quarterback in the worst way, but I don't think they reach for one here. It's too bad there are issues surrounding Ryan Mallett because his arm and Adrian Peterson behind him would be an interesting backfield. In my first mock it was OT Nate Solder here, and he has to garner some consideration.
  13. Pick No.
    13
    DET
    NATE SOLDER
    OT
    Colorado
     
    The Lions must protect Matt Stafford's blind side for the next 10 years and Solder has the skills to do just that. The Lions could grab a corner in the next round. Tyron Smith went here in my first mock.
  14. Pick No.
    14
    STL
    JULIO JONES
    WR
    Alabama
     
    The Rams need a big-time receiver for Sam Bradford to throw to, especially since they like Bradford throwing the ball close to 40 times a game. Jones is big and fast and ran under 4.4 with a broken bone in his foot. Jones would help the Rams' running game, too, with the way he blocks.
  15. Pick No.
    15
    MIA
    MARK INGRAM
    RB
    Alabama
     
    This has been a consistent selection for over a month now by anyone talking mock drafts, which is probably the reason they take a back here. Ingram improved his 40 time at his pro day and is a solid runner.
  16. Pick No.
    16
    JAC
    RYAN KERRIGAN
    DE
    Purdue
     
    Kerrigan, who also landed here in my first mock, plays with the high motor Jack Del Rio likes to coach. He ran a 4.76 forty at 263 pounds and he made more than 90 plays behind the line of scrimmage in college. Put on his tapes and look at the 14 forced fumbles he caused at Purdue. Pretty impressive.
  17. Pick No.
    17
    NE
    ANTHONY CASTONZO
    OT
    Boston College
     
    The Patriots have two picks in the first round and if guys like Watt (the pick here in my first mock) and Kerrigan are gone they could take an offensive tackle at this spot. DE/OLB Robert Quinn is still on the board but a brain tumor still has to be discussed even though he played with it throughout college. Castonzo is versatile and has 54 college starts.
  18. Pick No.
    18
    SD
    ROBERT QUINN
    DE
    North Carolina
     
    The Chargers play a hybrid defense and Quinn has the ability to play in that scheme. At 6-4 and 265 pounds, he ran a 4.67 40 at the combine. He was ineligible last year but had 11 sacks in 2009. In my first mock, the Chargers took the same type of player, Aldon Smith, but Quinn was off the board.
  19. Pick No.
    19
    NYG
    GABE CARIMI
    OT
    Wisconsin
    The Giants have questions at both tackle spots and in the longterm they need younger players up front. Carimi played left tackle in college and might be a right tackle in the NFL. Castonzo was the pick here in my first mock, but he's off the board this time.
  20. Pick No.
    20
    TB
    ALDON SMITH
    DE
    Missouri
     
    The Bucs need pass-rush help and they prefer speed over size in their defense. Smith isn't Simeon Rice, who played the position in the great Tampa defenses, but he has skills to rush the passer. He ran a 4.75 40 at 6-4 and 263 pounds, and with 46 plays behind the line of scrimmage in two seasons he fits the bill for now.
  21. Pick No.
    21
    KC
    PHIL TAYLOR
    DT
    Baylor
     
    Taylor is a powerful man with quickness. At 6-3 and 334 pounds, he is a nose tackle in the Chiefs' 3-4. His arms are a bit short for the two-gap scheme but he can bull rush and be a force inside. He also was the pick here in my first mock.
  22. Pick No.
    22
    IND
    MIKE POUNCEY
    C/G
    Florida
    The Colts need line help now and an eventual replacement for center Jeff Saturday. Pouncey has suggested he can play tackle as well and at 6-5 he probably can do just that if need be. In my first mock it was Carimi here, but he's off the board.
  23. Pick No.
    23
    PHI
    DEREK SHERROD
    OT
    Mississippi State
     
    There has been a run on tackles with four already gone. With Howard Mudd coaching the line in Philly, he can get Sherrod ready. The Eagles could look long and hard at a corner at this spot. In my first mock I had them taking CB Jimmy Smith.
  24. Pick No.
    24
    NO
    CAM HEYWARD
    DE
    Ohio State
     
    Heyward, the son of former Saints running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, is a versatile and can play inside or out, which sets up well in Greg Williams' defense. Heyward has 33 plays behind the line of scrimmage in his last 25 games.
  25. Pick No.
    25
    SEA
    JIMMY SMITH
    CB
    Colorado
     
    Smith was off the board in my first mock, but the big corner is there this time. He is nasty, and at 6-2 and 211 pounds with a 4.42 40, he fits into Seattle's scheme. Jake Locker is still on the board but his film study could lead the Seahawks away from the local star.
  26. Pick No.
    26
    BAL
    TORREY SMITH
    WR
    Maryland
     
    The Ravens need a speed receiver and a young one. Smith is a vertical threat and would open up the underneath routes for Anquan Boldin. Smith has return skills and is a solid person. He went here in my first mock.
  27. Pick No.
    27
    ATL
    BRANDON HARRIS
    CB
    Miami
     
    The Falcons' secondary was better last year with the addition of Dunta Robinson, but they need a better nickel and dime package and Harris is the best CB left on the board. They could come back later for a wide receiver. I had WR Jon Baldwin going here in my first mock, but he has moved down draft boards.
  28. Pick No.
    28
    NE
    MUHAMMAD WILKERSON
    DE
    Temple
    At 6-4 and 315 pounds with 35-inch arms, Wilkerson fits the Patriot profile for a front-three player. He ran a 4.99-second 40 at the combine, and even though he is a bit raw coming out of Temple there is a lot to work with here. The Patriots select again in five picks.
  29. Pick No.
    29
    CHI
    AARON WILLIAMS
    CB
    Texas
     
    The Bears know there is some depth late in the first round at corner and get a shot at a smooth athlete. Williams ran a slow 40 at the combine and needs to run faster at some point. He'll have a chance at Texas' pro day on March 28.
  30. Pick No.
    30
    NYJ
    JUSTIN HOUSTON
    OLB
    Georgia
     
    A big outside backer with pass rush skills, Houston had 10 sacks last season and ran a 4.68 40 at 270 pounds. He has similar traits to some of the Ravens' outside linebackers Rex Ryan coached when he worked there.
  31. Pick No.
    31
    PIT
    DANNY WATKINS
    G/C
    Baylor
    After interviewing Watkins this week he just sounded like a classic Steeler pick -- mature, tough, and very focused. They might like a corner in this spot but two came off the board in the last four picks.
  32. Pick No.
    32
    GB
    ADRIAN CLAYBORN
    DE
    Iowa
     
    Clayborn's production fell off in 2010 but he's still a very solid player that helps a front that could see Cullen Jenkins gone in free agency and an aging Ryan Pickett holding things together.

Second round

33. New England Patriots, Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

34. Buffalo Bills, Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

35. Cincinnati Bengals, Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

36. Denver Broncos, Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois

37. Cleveland Browns, Christian Ballard, DE, Iowa

38. Arizona Cardinals, Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina

39. Tennessee Titans, Jake Locker, QB, Washington

40. Dallas Cowboys, Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois

41. Washington Redskins, Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

42. Houston Texans, Curtis Brown, CB, Texas

43. Minnesota Vikings, Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

44. Detroit Lions, Davon House, CB, New Mexico

45. San Francisco 49ers, Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon St

46. Denver Broncos, Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame

47. St. Louis Rams, Jurrell Casey, DT, USC

48. Oakland Raiders, Ben Ijalana, OG, Villanova

49. Jacksonville Jaguars, Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky

50. San Diego Chargers, James Carpenter, OT, Alabama

51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rahim Moore, S, UCLA

52. New York Giants, Marvin Austin, DT North, Carolina

53. Indianapolis Colts, Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson

54. Philadelphia Eagles, Brandon Burton, CB, Utah

55. Kansas City Chiefs, Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

56. New Orleans Saints, DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

57. Seattle Seahawks, Marcus Cannon, OT, TCU

58. Baltimore Ravens, Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville

59. Atlanta Falcons, Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh

60. New England Patriots, Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma

61. San Diego Chargers, Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy State

62. Chicago Bears, Titus Young, WR, Boise State

63. Pittsburgh Steelers, Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida

64. Green Bay Packers, Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona

Second-round hopefuls

Here are some prospects who didn't make the first two rounds, but have second-round grades: Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State; Rodney Hudson, G, Florida State; Drake Nevis, DT, LSU; Colin Kapernick, QB, Nevada.